Acclaimed poet Jan Conn’s latest book, Tomorrow’s Bright White Light, offers poems as phenomenological guides to an approximation of a future “truth.” The collection includes poems about odd, secretive childhood events and poems that visit the badlands of adolescence from both male and female viewpoints. Some poems deal with the struggles of contemporary life in its many guises, while others derive from Conn’s time in Latin America. Obvious or not, all of the poems in this stunning collection are linked, creating a personal mosaic of the poet’s many lives and experiences.
‘“I want to be both noun and verb.’ By the time that desire gets expressed, by one speaker in one poem near the end of Jan Conn’s new book, Tomorrow’s Bright White Light, the reader has seen it fulfilled by the collection as a whole. Conn’s poetry is fully noun and fully verb, picking out very particular things doing very particular things: varnished cotton bags carrying water, termites crawling upward into clothes, screen doors collecting an eclipse of moths, polar bears crunching over crackled ice. In this extraordinary work, being and doing merge.”—H. L. Hix, author of Incident Light and Legible Heavens
“Any reader of Jan Conn will be made aware of her philosophical voice which she seamlessly blends with her poetry, dexterously heightened by scientific language or heightened diction… As poet, she experiences altered states, the internal floats, a dislocation of time and space, multiple places, shifting shapes and mixing metaphors… the qualities of a dream.”—Anne Burke, poets.ca
“The humanity and vulnerability of Conn’s voice, which shows itself in controlled glimpses, is one that measures its surroundings, and finds hope in that place where two modes of attention, objectivity and sensitivity to beauty, meet each other with profound respect.”—Sonnet L’Abbé, Malahat Review
“Future-oriented, even hopeful poetics… Conn’s work is timely in its depictions of political precarity as well as environmental collapse… poems muster their details to paint almost ekphrastic scenes through Conn’s always masterful diction.”—Lise Gaston, Arc Poetry
Photo by Carl Schlichting
Canadian poet Jan Conn was brought up in southeastern Quebec. She now lives in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and is a professor of Biomedical Sciences whose research is focused on the genetics and ecology of mosquitoes. She has published eight previous books of poetry, most recently Botero’s Beautiful Horses and Edge Effects.